Chronic pain was part of the EU's priority list during the Italian Presidency during the second part of 2014. Therefore, for the first time, the issue of pain was brought to the attention of all health ministers of the EU. EU. For all those who have worked for this important result it was certainly gratifying, but there is no insignificant challenge ahead: reducing the impact of chronic pain in Europe by ensuring that the right to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering (11th Law in the EU Charter of the Rights of the Patient) is guaranteed everywhere and for everyone.
Unfortunately, the situation is not as good as the survey conducted in 18 countries by Active Citizenship Network and Pain Alliance Europe has highlighted, with serious repercussions not only from the social point of view, but also from the economic point of view. Therefore, it is time to join forces and work as a team.
On May 23-24, 2016, during the symposium meeting of the SIP-Social Impact of Pain in Brussels, the electorate in pain took important steps in relation to the impact of chronic pain on the lives of individuals. A set of eight fundamental policy recommendations resulted from this collaboration between associations of patients with chronic pain, health professionals, researchers, scientists and other interested parties involved in pain care. The following are the main recommendations addressed to the institutions of the European Union and national governments:
- Application of Article 8.5 of the Directive on cross-border healthcare.
- Establish an EU platform on the social impact of pain.
- Integrate chronic pain into EU policies on chronic diseases
- Ensure that pain care is part of cancer policies and strategies
- Initiative policies that address the impact of pain on employment.
- Implement adjustments in the workplace for people with chronic pain
- Increase investment in pain research
- Prioritize pain in education for heath professionals, patients and the general public
These eight policy recommendations represented an important starting point in the development of a better European policy to address the management of chronic pain, and we appreciate the decision to add pain to their agenda of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) in December 2016 .
However, it is still necessary to take concrete measures against unnecessary pain. These eight policies can not only work as recommendations, but they need to be reinforced and implemented concretely between the states.
We are aware that the European Union works at different levels and we not only need to identify priorities and recommendations, or get commitment from the Institutions, but also promote concrete activities in which all stakeholders participate.
Therefore, our commitment could be to transfer what we have achieved from the European agenda to the social and popular culture.